April 2, 2019

Scathing review of Bret Easton Ellis results in book sales


Andrea Long Chu of Bookforum gave a very negative review of White by Bret Easton Ellis (author of American Psycho). Long Chu is the author of a soon-to-be-published book on gender and desire titled Females: A Concern (Verso, 2019). You might expect a debut author to write only glowing reviews leading up to the publication of their own book to try to create some kind of good review karma for themselves, but in this instance, that’s certainly not the case. Long Chu wastes no time on letting readers know what she thinks of White and of Ellis—and she doesn’t take any breaks. Here are some snippets from the review:

“A rambling mess of cultural commentary and self-aggrandizement.”

“The prose in White is shapeless, roving, and aggressively unedited.”

“Ellis believes that style is everything; what a shame he has written a book with so little of it.”

“Ellis does not realize he is talking about himself, an angry, uninteresting man who has just written a very needy book.”

Just as Long Chu dreaded, her negative review resulted in book sales for Ellis. One commenter writes, “pre-ordered, based solely on this reviewer’s reaction :D” 

On top of the negative review, reviews of the review in the comments were pretty brutal as well:

“I usually look forward to reading smart and thought-provoking articles on this site, not fanatic ramblings of a maniacal nature. Bad form, Bookforum.”

“I’m sure Bookforum knew the kind of hateful review it would get for this book, considering it’s author. Too bad the editors could not have asked for the opinion of a more objective reader.”

“Oh my, the reviewer was “triggered” by Ellis. I believe the review makes his points about SJW’s as well as he did. Are we certain she was not the offended in the restaurant?”

Do I hear a nomination for Bookstr’s Hilariously Scathing One-Star Book Reviews?



Christina Cerio is the Manager of Direct Sales & Special Projects at Melville House.